Can the honorific o be used in front of all nouns? I was thinking of sentence structures and wondering if o could be placed in front of all nouns. Thank you.


The Ministry of Education's guidance is (or used to be) that honorific prefixes should only be used where their usage was well-established by custom, and that as a rule お should be used before Japanese words and ご(御) before "kango" (Chinese or Chinese-style words). Thus, おさけ and おはし(お箸) but ご主人 and ご本人. Honorific prefixes shouldn't be used before 外来語 (non-Chinese foreign imports). I seem to remember that they particularly disapproved of おビール and おコーヒー. But you will hear this rule disregarded ten times (well, maybe twice) a day. The best advice is :listen to the usage of native-speakers whose Japanese you are happy to take as a model and follow their example.

  • I know you didn't explicitly say otherwise, but just wanted to point out that both お and ご are written as 御 in kanji.
    – Leebo
    Feb 28 '19 at 23:43
  • 1
    True. Thanks for the comment, Leebo - it's made my day to know my humble contribution is still being read! Mar 2 '19 at 8:32

No. It really depends upon the word. There are some words which typically don't use the honorific 'o' , but can use it. Others would sound strange or be plain wrong. Good luck.

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